Typhoon Saola makes landfall in southern China but appears to cause only light damage

by Andrew Wright
1 comment
Typhoon Saola

Typhoon Saola struck southern China in the early hours of Saturday, following the evacuation of nearly 900,000 individuals to ensure their safety. As a precautionary measure, Hong Kong and certain parts of the coastal mainland suspended business activities, transportation, and classes. Fortunately, the extent of the damage seemed to be relatively minor, and some services were gradually returning to their usual operations by the afternoon.

The meteorological bureau of Guangdong province indicated that the potent typhoon made landfall around 3:30 a.m. in an outlying district of Zhuhai, situated just south of Hong Kong. As the storm weakened while moving along the Guangdong coast in a southwesterly direction at a speed of approximately 17 kilometers (10 miles) per hour, Hong Kong took steps to resume flights, subway services, and rail train operations.

In preparation for the typhoon’s arrival, 780,000 people in Guangdong and 100,000 individuals in the neighboring Fujian province were relocated from vulnerable areas. Over 80,000 fishing vessels returned to harbor to ensure their safety.

Numerous workers remained at home, and students in various cities experienced delays in the commencement of their school year, with classes postponed until the following week. Trading on Hong Kong’s stock market was suspended on Friday, and a significant number of people found themselves stranded at the airport due to the cancellation of around 460 flights in this key business and travel hub of the region.

The Hong Kong Observatory issued a No. 10 hurricane alert, representing the highest level of warning within the city’s weather system. This marked the first instance of a No. 10 warning since the occurrence of Super Typhoon Mangkhut in 2018. Subsequently, the alert was downgraded to the less severe Strong Wind Signal No. 3 by mid-afternoon. Nonetheless, the Observatory cautioned about persistently rough sea conditions and advised individuals to avoid coastal areas and refrain from engaging in watersports.

Saola, characterized by maximum sustained winds of 195 kilometers (121 miles) per hour, came closest to Hong Kong’s financial hub around 11 p.m. on Friday, skirting approximately 30 kilometers (19 miles) south of the Tsim Sha Tsui shopping district. During the overnight period, the storm’s eyewall, encompassing its eye, traversed the city, presenting a “high threat” to the territory, as noted by the observatory.

By the morning of Saturday, the maximum sustained wind speeds had subsided to 145 kilometers (90 miles) per hour, and they further declined to 77 kilometers (47.85 miles) per hour as the day progressed.

Recent months in China have witnessed notably heavy rains and devastating flooding in various regions, leading to fatalities, including in the mountainous outskirts of the capital, Beijing.

As the torrential rains and strong winds of the storm closed in on Hong Kong, approximately 400 individuals sought refuge in temporary shelters, and ferry and bus services were temporarily suspended. Residents residing in low-lying areas took preventive measures, placing sandbags at their doorsteps to mitigate potential flooding risks.

Government reports indicated that over 120 trees were uprooted, and flooding incidents were reported in 18 distinct areas. Although 63 individuals sustained injuries, primarily due to falling trees, none were reported to be in critical condition. Consequently, classes across all schools were slated to remain suspended on Saturday.

In the nearby gambling center of Macao, weather authorities also issued flood warnings, forecasting the possibility of water levels rising to 1.5 meters (5 feet) in low-lying regions on Saturday morning. The cross-border bridge connecting Hong Kong, Macao, and Zhuhai was closed in the midafternoon. Macao’s leader, Ho Iat Seng, ordered a halt to casino operations in response.

Simultaneously, another storm named Haikui was gradually progressing toward eastern China. Coupled with the influence of Saola, parts of Guangdong, Fujian, and Zhejiang provinces were projected to encounter strong winds and heavy rainfall, according to the meteorological administration. The administration’s predictions indicated that Haikui would make landfall on Taiwan’s east coast on Sunday.

Numerous domestic flights were canceled, along with air services to Hong Kong and Macao, in response to the dual storm threat.

In spite of these weather-related challenges, China’s military conducted additional operations during the night of Friday and early Saturday, potentially intended to exert pressure on Taiwan. Taiwan, a self-governing democratic island, remains a target of Beijing’s efforts to establish sovereignty, even through force if deemed necessary. The Defense Ministry of Taiwan reported the detection of six Chinese military aircraft and three naval vessels in the vicinity of Taiwan within the 24-hour period leading up to 6 a.m. on Saturday.

The island’s armed forces were closely monitoring the situation, and they raised the alert status of aircraft, naval vessels, and land-based missile systems. However, there were no indications suggesting that the Chinese ships or aircraft had crossed the median line within the Taiwan Strait or entered Taiwan’s air defense identification zone, as has occurred in the past.

Prior to its impact on southern China, Saola passed just south of Taiwan, bringing torrential rainfall to the island’s southern cities. The typhoon had previously affected the Philippines, resulting in substantial displacement of residents in the northern regions due to flooding.

Contributions to this report were made by Kanis Leung, a writer for Big Big News, and Alice Fung, a video journalist.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Typhoon Saola

What was the impact of Typhoon Saola on southern China?

Typhoon Saola made landfall in southern China, prompting the evacuation of nearly 900,000 people. Hong Kong and coastal mainland areas suspended activities. Despite the precautions, the damage was minimal, and some services returned to normal by afternoon.

What actions were taken to prepare for the typhoon?

In anticipation of Typhoon Saola, around 780,000 people in Guangdong and 100,000 in Fujian were relocated from vulnerable areas. Over 80,000 fishing vessels returned to port, and various cities postponed the start of the school year.

How severe was the weather warning in Hong Kong?

The Hong Kong Observatory issued a No. 10 hurricane alert, the highest level, but later downgraded it to Strong Wind Signal No. 3. The Observatory urged people to avoid coastal areas due to continuing rough seas.

What were the reported damages and disruptions?

Reports indicated over 120 uprooted trees, flooding in 18 areas, and 63 injuries, mainly caused by falling trees. Hong Kong’s stock market trading was suspended, and numerous flights were canceled.

Was there any impact on other regions besides China?

Typhoon Saola affected Taiwan with heavy rain and also lashed the Philippines, displacing many due to flooding. Another storm, Haikui, was forecast to hit Taiwan’s east coast.

How did China’s military respond to the typhoon?

Amid the storm, China’s military operations near Taiwan continued, potentially indicating pressure tactics. Taiwan’s defense forces monitored the situation but noted no significant incursions into its airspace or territorial waters.

Were there any additional weather warnings for nearby regions?

Macao also issued flood warnings, predicting rising water levels. The cross-border bridge connecting Hong Kong, Macao, and Zhuhai was closed temporarily.

What were the implications for the broader weather situation in China?

China had been experiencing heavy rains and deadly flooding in various regions in recent months, leading to fatalities and displacement. Haikui, another storm, was expected to bring further challenges.

Who contributed to the coverage of this event?

Kanis Leung, a writer, and Alice Fung, a video journalist, both associated with Big Big News, contributed to reporting on Typhoon Saola’s impact.

More about Typhoon Saola

You may also like

1 comment

EconGeek23 September 2, 2023 - 1:56 pm

China’s dealin’ with heavy rains, deadly floods, now Typhoon Saola? Crazy weather mess disruptin’ life. Hope everyone’s stayin’ safe!


Leave a Comment


BNB – Big Big News is a news portal that offers the latest news from around the world. BNB – Big Big News focuses on providing readers with the most up-to-date information from the U.S. and abroad, covering a wide range of topics, including politics, sports, entertainment, business, health, and more.

Editors' Picks

Latest News

© 2023 BBN – Big Big News